The chief executive of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla has tweeted for the US President Joe Biden to lift embargo on exporting raw materials needed to make the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pharmaceutical companies in India have raised concerns that the use of the Defence Production Act by the United States to boost their own vaccine production was resulting in exports of critical raw materials being stopped. And this was hobbling vaccine production in other parts of the world.
“If we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the US, I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the US, so that vaccine production can ramp up,” wrote Poonawalla.
Respected @POTUS, if we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up. Your administration has the details. 🙏🙏
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) April 16, 2021
In an interview with The Associated Press, he had said that pivoting away from the suppliers in the United States could result in a delay of up to six months for the production of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax. It should be noted that Serum Institute of India and Novavax have inked a deal to supply 1.1 billion does of the vaccine to COVAX to equitably distribute it across the globe. And because of the surging second wave of COVID-19 infections across India, which led to a sudden spike in domestic demand, SII halted exports of COVAX.
Poonawalla said the unavailability of the raw materials, such as the specific medium needed to grow micro-organisms, would prevent Serum Institute from scaling up the production of the vaccine developed by Novavax. The report points out that ramping up the production of this shot could also help India. “Novavax has applied for emergency use of the vaccine to regulators in Europe, the US and the World Health Organization. If approved, India would be able to use the shot under new regulations that make it easier to greenlight vaccines that have received the nod by the UK, Europe, Japan or WHO,” it said.